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Relationship to the "Sacred Feminine"

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Kabrina Teppe
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« on: November 12, 2008, 01:15:20 am »

Relationship to the "Sacred Feminine"

The Da Vinci Code:

The main conflict in the Church today is the sublimation of the feminine. Without this female influence, the world is left unbalanced due to the absence of harmony in yin and yang (male and female). The final goal of the novel is the Holy Grail, the chalice which represents not only the uterus of Mary Magdalene but also the ability of a woman's body to create life (238). This search for the Grail is in fact the quest for the lost goddess. The goddess was conquered upon the establishment of the Catholic Church. Langdon espouses "Legends of chivalric quests for the lost Grail were in fact stories of forbidden quests to find the lost feminine. Knights who claimed to be 'searching for the chalice' were speaking in code as a way to protect themselves from a Church who had subjugated women" (238). Mary Magdalene, according to Teabing, carried the royal blood of Jesus and for that reason "The Priory of Sion, to this day, still worships Mary Magdalene as the Goddess, the Holy Grail, the Rose, and the Divine Mother" (255). The sexuality of the sacred feminine endangered the power of the Church. Brown discusses early fertility cults and their use of the sacred ritual hieros gamos (308) as a means of communicating with God. This, says Langdon, "...left the Church out of the loop, undermining their self proclaimed status as the sole conduit to God. For obvious reasons they worked hard to demonize sex and recast it as a disgusting and sinful act" (309). The story of Eve being created out of Adam's rib also provides insight into the Church's attempts to tarnish the image and powers of the Goddess. Teabing informs Langdon and Sophie that "...this concept of woman as lifebringer was a foundation of ancient religion. Childbirth was mystical and powerful. Sadly, Christian philosophy decided to embezzle the female's creative power by ignoring the biological truth and making man the creator" (238). The domination of the feminine forced symbols of the sacred feminine to remain in the arts. Numerous stories such as Sleeping Beauty, King Arthur, and even the Little Mermaid all serve as Grail allegories (261). Walt Disney, argues Langdon, "...retold tales like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White - all which dealt with the incarceration of the sacred feminine" (262). In the Little Mermaid Ariel hides a portrait of The Penitent Magdalen in her grotto. This, insists Brown, is "...a famous homage to the banished Mary Magdalene" (262).
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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2008, 01:16:19 am »


Evidence Supporting Brown:


Those scholars who have studied the rise off fertility cults  and their eventual decline can best support Dan Brown's assertions that Mary Magdalene represents the sacred feminine or lost goddess.  Merlin Stone's When God was a Woman is a novel that documents the ancient worship of goddesses in the Middle East.  Stone cites numerous groups, all of whom worshipped different goddesses.  Examples of these goddesses are Anat, Anahita, Istar and Isis (9).  Stone sites archaelogical evidence and numerous statues dating from Neolithic communities around 7000 B.C. to show the influence of matriarchal society's treatment of women (10).  Stone views the invasion of groups of Indo-Europeans as the beginning of the conflict between goddess worship and patriarchal religion.  It was when these groups began their invasions that the supreme male deity replaced the Goddess.

The Sumerian legend of Inanna and Damuzi shows an instance of hieros gamos or sacred marriage, a concept which Dan Brown uses in the novel.  Dan Brown describes hieros gamos as a spiritual and sexual ritual performed by many goddess-worshipping groups.  Among people such as the Sumerians “…the act of sex was considered to be sacred, so holy and precious that it was enacted within the house of the creatress of heaven, earth and all life.  As one of her many aspects the Goddess was revered as patron deity of sexual love” (Stone 154).  This echoes what Dan Brown says in the novel referring to hieros gamos as a religious act (308). “The evidence that Mary Magdalene and Jesus provided the model for ‘ hieros gamos' (Sacred Marriage) in Christianity is found in the Gospels themselves” asserts Margaret Starbird in The Beloved.  Starbird is one of the main sources utilized by Dan Brown.

In her novel, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, Margaret Starbird writes that Hieros Gamos was in fact a “sacred union of royal priestess with chosen king/consort” (36).  This is very similar to the legend of Inanna and Damuzi.  This ritual deals with the theme of the lost bride and the bridegroom or sacrificed king. Thunder, Perfect Mind is a poem translated by George W. McRae and most likely written in Egypt and in a feminine voice of power that is divine.  One section of the poem is “I am the wife and the virgin, I am the mother and the daughter…I am the bride and the bridegroom.”  This poem represents the voice of the sacred feminine.  It was discovered from the Gnostic gospels at Nag Hammadi.

According to Starbird's The Woman with the Alabaster Jar many priestesses had sex within temples.  These women were called hierodulae or sacred priestesses.  This word would later come to be equated with the word “prostitute” (29) after male-dominated religion destroyed the feminine.  It deals with Brown's main theme of the need for balance between the sexes.  Brown writes “Physical union with the female remained the sole means through which man could become spiritually complete and ultimately achieve gnosis - knowledge of the divine”(308). 

The idea of sex has proven to be a central difference between fertility cults and the Church. Langdon tells Sophie “…it's important to remember that the ancient's view of sex was entirely opposite from ours today. Sex begot-new life –the ultimate miracle- and miracles could be performed only by a god” (309). Brown states that the Church chose to depict Mary Magdalene as a **** in order to discredit her position as mother of Jesus' child, her power in the Church, and her power as a woman (162).  Starbird supports this claim and the need to restore the forgotten bride, as she writes “The only bride of Christ who was acceptable to the church itself (is) the entire community of believers” (155).  The sexual relationship between a man and a woman, Jesus and Mary has been discounted.  Starbird goes on to say “At present, we have the paradigm of a perpertually bachelor son and a virgin mother as our ideal of holiness” (97).  The woman who has sex for spirtitual reasons such as the hierodulae are re-titled as whores, much like Mary Magdalene was.  Brown's position that the Church made sex a negative act in order to suppress the sacred feminine can be seen in the story of Adam and Eve, writes Stone (214-215).  Eve's hunger for knowledge leads to her fall from grace.  The other stories which Brown cites also have a basis in the sacred feminine.  Disney's The Little Mermaid does indeed have a scene in which Ariel is looking at a portrait of the Penitent Magdalene .  The suppression of the sacred feminine does indeed appear to be a factor in the portrayal of Mary Magdalene.  Starbird writes in The Woman and the Alabaster Jar: “In restoring the feminine principle embodied in Mary Magdalene, it is necessary to establish her true identity as bride rather than prostitute” (176).

Within the novel, Dan Brown mentions that Mary Magdalene "is the rose,...the chalice,...the womb,...and the vine from which the sacred fruit sprang forth,"(249) referring to her as the divine mother who carried Jesus' royal lineage. He deliberately states that "the holy grail is Mary Magdalene"(p.253). According to Starbird, the "Grail" myth takes on an entirely different shape. No wonder the knights in armor sought "in vain for the elusive artifact. The mistaken object of their search was an artifact when it should have been a woman. It is in restoring the 'Bride' that the sacred King is healed. The 'chalice' is an ancient symbol for the sacred feminine and the ancient goddesses are often associated with the ‘Vesica Piscis'"

This idea that Mary Magdalene is the divine woman is fortified by Margaret Starbird's argument in Mary Magdalene: The Beloved, where she claims that "The Greek epithet h Magdalhnh bears the number 153, a profoundly important value used among mathematicians to designate the Vesica Piscis– the ()-shaped or 'seed' identified with the sacred feminine in the ancient world. Mary Magdalene's name alone is tied to the concept of the sacred feminine attributed through the vulva, a symbol reflecting the feminine regeneration and the ‘doorway' or ‘portal' of life– the ‘sacred cauldron of creativity.'" That symbol was a very ancient, and very archetypal symbol for the goddess. It was called the "holy of the holies" and the "inner sanctum." It was very obvious and no accident that the epithet of Mary Magdalene bore the number that, to the educated of the time, identified her as the "Goddess in the Gospels."

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2008, 01:16:43 am »


http://itrs.scu.edu/students/winter04/french/mary/mary2/sacredfeminine.htm
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